Golden, glossy chestnuts in a swirl of sweet, bright-colored yam paste are also a Japanese New Year’s tradition. They are wonderful as a decorative accompaniment to a Western-style roast turkey or baked ham. Try decorating your platter next time with whole chestnuts, piping out the sweet yam paste in circlets around them.
Drain the chestnuts, reserving
Peel the yams and cut them into
Place the warm yam paste in a small saucepan with the sugar and stir to mix well. Add the reserved chestnut syrup and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the mirin and the drained chestnuts. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Spread the paste onto a cookie sheet and let it cool thoroughly. Serve the chestnuts swirled in yam paste either chilled or at room temperature. They may be stored for up to 2 months by covering the cooled paste with plastic wrap (make sure there are no air pockets), and refrigerating it.
© 1986 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.